Photo of the Day Poems: Breaking Bread #Teaching #Poetry #NPM22

Sunday night. The eve before Monday morning always leaves me wanting more weekend. And yet room 209 awaits and tomorrow the bell will ring at 8:04 a.m. and I will continue unpacking e. e. cummings’ poem “in Just-” with my AP English Literature students. Rather than post the cummings poem, I figured I would return to the Collins poem I posted on April 1st and add my own reflection on teaching. Much has changed in twenty-two years, and though this poem is far from accurate for my first period AP students, it does speak to the general frustration I experience when I feel like I’m throwing bread to wooden ducks.

Breaking Bread

by Vincent H. Anastasi 2019

Once I was the mama bird
pre-chewing, partially digesting
the tougher texts -
        perplexing poems,
        ponderous prose -
allowing them to churn in my gut,
to break down the pieces
before regurgitating fermented sustenance
into the clamoring mouths
too old to still fill a nest,
fully feathered,
wings strong enough to fly,
keen eyes alert to lurking predators,
sensitive to the minute changes beneath the grass
as the tiny ends of worms burst from the loam.

But now, all the mouths are silent,
all the eyes turned away,
and all the bellies full;
no hungry chirps, no jostling for nourishment,
no majestic terrifying leaps of
faith finding flight --
wonder replaced by Wonder Bread,
slice upon identical slice of
bleached, spongy, sugary
unwholesome distractions
and effortless handouts of thoughtless hands.

The flock moves on
and all that remains is a solitary duck
floating about the pond in silent protest
bearing the words
        “Please don’t feed me BREAD”
while the Pavlovian pigeons
and gulls gather about the woman and child
sitting on the park bench.

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